A tension-type headache is often described as a squeezing sensation, and are also known as muscle strain or muscle contraction headaches.
Tension headaches are often associated with mild to moderate pain that is usually felt on both sides of the head. If you have this type of a headache, you don’t usually have nausea, vomiting or visual disturbances such as pre-headache auras that migraine headaches sometimes produce but you may experience some sensitivity to light,
Stressful events or emotional tension are thought to be the most common cause of tension headaches. Stress and tension can cause muscle strain which can also lead to secondary conditions that trigger tension headaches. These other conditions may include:
Too little sleep or sleep apnea
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
Depression or anxiety
Degenerative arthritis of the neck
Prevention and Treatment
Keeping a regular sleep schedule will help. if you suspect you have sleep apnea, ask your physician about a sleep study.
Eat at regular intervals and avoid processed foods.
Ask your physician about using a corrective device to help with proper jaw alignment to help with TMJ.
If you think you have a mental health issue, speak to a provider about how to address depression, anxiety or stress.
Talk to your doctor about the different treatment options for degenerative arthritis to help relieve pain and muscle tension.
Sit up straight and avoid bad posture.
You should talk to your doctor if you take medication for your headaches more than twice a week, or the patterns of your headaches suddenly change, see your doctor right away. It could indicate a serious medical condition.
If you have an abrupt severe headache, a headache with a fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties or a headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse, call 911 as you may have a medical emergency.